Bellflower Movie Review
With the apocalypse not at all approaching, two friends spend their days preparing for it, building flame-throwers and Mad Max-esque vehicles. Amongst their otherwise normal lives, one of the friends, Woodrow, meets a girl and falls in love. But all good things come to an end: what began as an innocent relationship quickly spirals out of control. Welcome to Bellflower, the intoxicating and unique drama from first-time writer/director/star Evan Glodell.
Glodell's glorious debut is a movie that, as judging by the first paragraph, cannot be described with a mere plot description. The back cover describes it best of all, as "a heartfelt story of obsession, friendship, young love gone awry, and an angst-ridden critique of and from Generation Y... the debut feature from the mad scientist of a filmmaker Evan Glodell."
According to the box, Glodell really is a mad scientist. Bellflower was filmed with his custom-built cameras, assembled from both digital and traditional camera parts. The flamethrowers, his modified fire-spewing 1972 Buick Skylark and other inventions are of his own making. The movie is also visually enthralling, emotionally gripping and viscerally unique, the product of a creative mind that thinks outside the box.
Starring Glodell as Woodrow, Tyler Dawson as his best friend Aiden, Jessie Wiseman as girlfriend Milly and Rebekah Brandes as her closest friend Courtney, the film's biggest and perhaps only weakness is its actors. Bellflower is the first feature-length movie for three of the actors; Brandes, the only one with prior acting experience, is noticeably more natural in her delivery. Glodell, Dawson and Wiseman are raw around the edges, though they seem to settle into their characters, or be defined by their performances, as time goes on. Even as the weakest link, they effectively develop believable, likable characters.
The movie itself is incredibly strange, though the brilliance of it all is that Glodell does a great job of hiding such a fact. In many ways it's a simple story of falling in love and being betrayed by that love, yet Glodell injects such freshness into the story and plot the end result doesn't look at all like a romantic drama. Things get disturbingly crazy in the third act, yet each individual piece works seamlessly with the next.
Story aside, Bellflower is beautifully shot by cinematographer Joel Hodge. The film looks great throughout, grainy yet clear, washed out yet rich with color.
Bellflower isn't for everyone, but for fans of the ‘apocalyptic romance when there isn't actually an apocalypse' genre, it is a must-see. Made - somehow - for only $17,000, Bellflower is the perfect example of how great movies can be made on a shoestring budget. Bellflower is a masterpiece debut for Evan Glodell, and hopefully just the start of a great carer from the director.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.